MADRID (REUTERS, NYTIMES) – Major airlines around the world were briefly hit by computer problems on Thursday morning (Sept 28), causing some minor delays at airports, due to a problem with a system from Spanish travel technology firm Amadeus.
Amadeus, which operates global travel booking systems and offers check-in services for airlines, said it suffered a network problem on Thursday which caused a disruption to some of its systems and was working to fix the problem.
“That action is ongoing with services gradually being restored,” a spokesman said.
Amadeus software is used by 189 airlines, including major carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, Thai Airways and Air France.
Singapore’s Changi airport, as well as those in London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Washington, were among those that faced the disruption. Airports, however, said the disruption was limited.
A similar incident occurred in April, when computer issues briefly prevented airlines including Lufthansa and Air France-KLM, from boarding passengers one evening.
Frankfurt airport operator Fraport said on Twitter that Germany’s largest carrier Lufthansa and partner airlines had been hit by a problem for around 30 minutes in the morning which prevented bags being checked in, but said the issue had been resolved.
London’s Gatwick airport also said its airlines had some“brief issues” but were now operating as normal.
A spokesman for Groupe ADP, which operates and manages more than a dozen airports in the greater Paris region, confirmed airlines using the Amadeus system had been affected at the French capital’s Charles de Gaulle airport.
“This was a worldwide failure (of the Amadeus system). We were no worse affected than other airports. It only lasted a few minutes,” the spokesman said. He said national carrier Air France was among the airlines that used Amadeus.
In Washington, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Southwest Airlines reported a computer issue causing a few minor delays at Reagan National Airport of up to 16 minutes but there were no other issues at present.
Alex Macheras, an air travel analyst based in London, said the issue appeared to be affecting software known as a departure control system.
Failures of such systems, which are crucial to the operation of both an airline and an airport, have hit carriers in the past. American Airlines was forced to cancel hundreds of flights in 2013 after suffering a glitch to its software, operated by Sabre, a rival to Amadeus.
“There’s been failures before, small glitches,” Macheras said. “But to have it on a global scale is very unusual.” He added that there did not appear to be any signs that the outage was caused by malicious intent.